Japanese-owned Kubota, which makes tractors and industrial equipment, has shut down manufacturing at its two Georgia factories through April 13.
The two-week hiatus started March 31 and comes as manufacturers face uncertainty around their supply chains and concerns about keeping employees safe as governments mandate measures to stem the spread of COVID-19.
“The suspension of production activities now will allow us time to appropriately evaluate the entire business environment, especially considering the growing number of positive COVID-19 cases in our local communities, including three of our own team members,” the company said in a statement.
Kubota’s factories in Gainesville and Jefferson cumulatively employ more than 3,000 people, who the company said would continue to be receive pay and benefits while activities are suspended.
“The management and staff will continue working on both short and long-term business continuity plans as we keep the welfare of our employees, their families, and our supply chain partners as our top priority while navigating through the challenges presented by the COVID-19 situation.”
One of Georgia’s steadiest Japanese investors and largest manufacturing employers, Kubota Manufacturing of America Corp. set up shop making tractor implements in Gainesville in 1988 and has expanded over time to create its current massive complex. The factory now makes small tractors and utility vehicles. The Osaka-based company last summer committed another $85 million to build an engineering facility on 300 acres next to its sprawling site.
Kubota Industrial Equipment was established in Jefferson in 2005 to assembles larger made-in-Japan tractors destined for the U.S. market. It also makes backhoes, loaders and tractor implements, employing more than 800 people.
Kubota joins other major manufacturers around the state hitting pause on their operations. Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia announced March 30 that it would pack up through the same date.